Monday, September 22, 2014

Five Favorite Vegan Tacos

As you are reading this, I am hopefully laying on a beach, reading a classic book, and not looking at the internet.  On this fourth week of Vegan Mofo, I'm on a digital blackout.  Don't worry, you will still have posts coming every day, but I won't be responding to comments or emails.

This week, I thought I would take you through some of my favorite foods from the year and a half since I started Vanishing Veggie.  I love blogging, and I have learned so much about myself along the way.  I am very grateful to have this outlet and incredibly touched to have such great readers.

Today, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things to cook...TACOS!  Josh and I adore our taco night, and we make a huge production out of it.  Jars of salsa are popped, chips are eaten, music is played, and tacos are made.  It's our favorite date night, and I've pulled out five of my favorite vegan taco concoctions.

What is your favorite taco?

Friday, September 19, 2014

LR Restaurant Review: Taj Mahal

I love Indian food, and we have two good restaurants here in town.  I recently read The Hundred Foot Journey, and afterwards, I was dying for some curry.  I took a break a few weeks ago from work and deadlines and went with Josh for some Sunday brunch at Taj Mahal.  I have eaten here a few times before and always loved it, and this trip was no disappointment.

The first thing I noticed was they had remodeled since my last visit.  The dining room was decorated in lush beads and wall paper, and they had moved the once single line buffet into an entirely dedicated room.  This made for a little bit of a crowded experience when trying to grab your meal, as the restaurant was bursting with people, but it offered more counter space for more items.

I started off with a large salad and some delicious and creamy eggplant.  This dish was amazing.  The waiter brought out fresh, hot naan bread that was perfect for soaking up the yummy sauces.  I was happy to see many vegan items on the buffet bar, although there were many items that were not.  I found plenty, though, and on my second round, I piled my plate high with rice and curry.

I kept waiting for the staff to refill the samosas, because I wanted one of those delicious, potato filled pillows.  Finally, they came out with a big, steaming bowl of them, and I snagged one up.  I was too full to finish it, though.  Somehow, some more of that delicious chaana masala ended up on my plate, too!

Josh and I were full and happy after our meal, and we'll definitely be coming back.

Taj Mahal Indian & Mediterranean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NLR Restaurant Review: Cactus Jack's

You know this girl loves Mexican food, so I am always down to try out a new restaurant.  Josh and I headed out to the McCain area to do some shopping a few weeks back, and we decided to give Cactus Jack's a try.

We were immediately taken by how large and nice the interior of the restaurant looked.  From the outside, the restaurant is fairly unassuming.  It's tucked into a large shopping block, right off a really busy street.  Inside, though, is calm and inviting.  We ordered some guac, large beers and the extra spicy salsa.

It's not often that salsa is too spicy for me, but this one was.  It was blow-your-face-off hot.  I mixed a little with my regular salsa, but I couldn't go for too much. There is definitely a line when hot is too hot.  The guac was tasty, though.  It wasn't as chunky as I would like, but it was still really flavorful and delicious.

The real test for me in how much I'm going to like a Mexican restaurant is how they prepare their veggie fajitas.  If it comes out with stringy, over cooked tomatoes and a few onions, I won't be coming back.  If it comes out with veggies piled high, seasoned well and not too greasy, I'll be a regular customer.  Cactus Jack's veggie fajitas did not disappoint.  They were definitely piled high, with sweet bell peppers, big mushrooms and plenty of spice.  The real star for me was something I spied on the "sides" portion of the menu that I knew I had to try.  The boasted "fried jalapeno rings," so I ordered some to top my fajitas.

These alone will have me coming back.  They were spicy, crispy and just the right amount of fried.  They weren't overly oily or burned, and they were perfect when topping my yummy fajitas.

It's nice to have another restaurant in the McCain Mall area to put in our dining out rotation.  North Little Rock lacks a variety of restaurant choices, but when we want some good Mexican food, we'll know where to go.

Cactus Jack's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LR Restaurant Review: Another Round

A new restaurant has opened in West Little Rock, and a few weeks ago, we headed out as an office to give it a try.  Another Round is a casual burger/bar place that would be a good atmosphere to have a beer and watch a Razorback game.

We got seated and started looking over the menu.  As you may notice, this place isn't the most vegan friendly.  That doesn't mean that I couldn't find something to eat, but there weren't a ton of options.  I was really hungry, so I ordered the chips and salsa.  It was great!  The salsa was delicious, and the chips were light and salty.  I was happy and excited about what was to come.

I ordered the veggie burger without cheese, add guacamole.  After seeing the menu, I was pretty afraid I was going to get a freezer patty, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a tasty patty with lots of veggies.  The onion rings, though, were a misstep.  They seemed like they were taken out of a freezer bag and thrown into the fryer.  If I'm going to eat onion rings, I want them to be fresh.  The burger, though, was good.

Since losing Buffalo Grill in this part of town, we haven't had a lunch spot that's simple and comforting.  I won't be running back here for the food, especially when Big Orange is just down the road, but if Josh and I want to find a spot to have lunch and watch some football, I would consider going back to Another Round.

Another Round on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Geek Eats makes Hummus Right!

Geek Eats has been a Little Rock staple for over a year now, yet I had not tried their delicious hummus and pesto until recently.  This North Little Rock group has been selling at local farmers' markets around the city, and they have been gaining a lot of notoriety.  My sister orders their hummus through the Arkansas Food Network, which is a weekly online farmers' market.

A few weeks ago, I was at the Argenta Farmer's Market picking up a few things, when I noticed the Geek Eats booth.  I quickly ran over and sampled everything they had to offer.  Then, the real problem started.  Which ones should I buy??  All the samples were delicious.  I especially liked their pesto, which is vegan and incredibly flavorful.  I finally settled on the caramelized onion hummus and the pesto.  Then, the friendly lady staffing the booth mentioned to me that they have a curry carrot hummus, but it wasn't out for sample.  "Give me that too!" I exclaimed!  It ended up being my absolute favorite.

I wanted to go home and devour all three of these, but I started to think of what I could make with them.  The caramelized onion one was sweet and delicious, and we ended up eating most of it with bell peppers and sriracha.

For the pesto, I started thinking of pizza, naan pizza to be exact.  So I made this delicious habanero flat bread pizza.

For the carrot curry hummus, I decided it was so special that it had to go in my birthday grilled cheese!

It also made a great side dish to my chickpea and corn salad.  Perfect for pita chips!

I can't recommend Geek Eats enough.  Their hummus is out of this world, and the pesto rocks, too.  Hunt them down and try their amazing treats as soon as you can!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Memphis Restaurant Review: Imagine Vegan Cafe

It's Vegan Mofo Week 3, which I will deem RESTAURANT WEEK!  I have had some tasty meals lately, so I thought I would share.  Those of you that don't live in the area can rest easy knowing there are good vegan eats in the Mid-South.

Before I tell you about this amazing, all vegan restaurant in Memphis, I have some news.  I am a big fan of the Arkansas Times, a local weekly paper here in Little Rock.  One of my favorite sections is their Eat Arkansas blog, which details local restaurants.  I often hear of a place that sounds good, and I suggest to Josh that we check it out.  Most of the time, though, I have to guess as to whether or not there is going to be vegan options on the menu, as most of the reviews focus on meat.  Not anymore, though!  I am going to be the newest columnist on the Eat Arkansas blog.  I will be bringing (hopefully) weekly reviews of places around town, from a vegan/vegetarian perspective!  I'll be adding the articles to the "Featured" tab at the top of the blog, so check it out!  My first article went out last week on The Veg LLC and Solfood Catering.

Ok, back to vegan food.  So, for years I have been reading Vegan Crunk, and Bianca has been detailing some amazing food from Imagine Vegan Cafe.  So, naturally, I have been dying to try this place.  Little Rock is 3 hours from Memphis, but my parents only live about 45 minutes away.  Finally, on Labor Day weekend, I got to try this vegan mecca.

Imagine is located in this cute house on Young Avenue near the Mid-South Coliseum.  Bianca met us for lunch, and we chowed down on some amazing food.

The first thing I noticed was how huge the menu was.  There were so many things I wanted to try.  Luckily, I brought a ton of girlfriends, my sister and my mom with me, so I got to try all of their food, too!

I decided on the Buffalo Chicken sandwich, which had chick'n strips coated in buffalo sauce and served with the most amazing ranch dressing I have had.

As a side, I got the vegan white mac and cheese, although they had a yellow mac and cheese as well.  I asked Bianca which to get, and she said they were both good, but the white was made in house with a cashew cream sauce.  It did not disappoint.  This got passed around and devoured by the table.

Is that a giant plate of biscuits and gravy, you might be asking yourself?  Why yes, yes it was.  My sister ordered it, as biscuits and gravy are a favorite of hers.  The plate came out with a massive amount of food, so I helped her a bit.

This was great, down home Southern cooking, vegan style.  The biscuits were perfect, and the gravy is everything I remembered gravy could be.  This also comes as a slammer plate with tofu scramble, but I think it might take three people to eat it!

Both ends of the table ordered an appetizer sampler, which was delicious.  My personal favorite item was the "pig" in a blanket.  The vegan hot dog was wrapped in fluffy dough, and it when dunked in the ranch, it was heaven.

Bianca got super tasty stuffed peppers, which she blogged about on her most recent Stuff I Ate post.

As you can tell, I enjoyed every bite at Imagine.  I definitely look forward to going back and trying out more of their vast menu.  I love how there is a variety of good ol' vegan comfort food and healthy options.

As it was my birthday, I snagged a few piece of their chocolate cake to take home and share.  I had devoured most of one slice when I remembered I needed to take a picture of it!  This cake was unbelievably good.  The baked goods are a must try for sure!  If you find yourself in Memphis, do not miss out on Imagine!

Imagine Vegan Cafe on Urbanspoon